Followup questions from management:
Tfish, why isn't feature X done on the website; we really need that
for Black Friday promotions in four days time?
Why are you working on / thinking about feature Y (an emailed request
that "can you just quickly...") when we all agreed feature Z was far
You need to start getting much more assertive, or your problems are going to cause you to loss of sleep, money, time and professional reputation.
You have the issue tracker in place; escalate to your line manager that people are bypassing it and making direct requests. Politely ask that you're allowed to remind them to use it. If it's an external customer, as your company's account manager to do this.
For some users, you can probably soften that to "Please attach screenshots to the issue tracker ticket" or even "What's the ticket number".
Your response should be "I'm only allowed to work on tasks given to me by [line manager]. Please use the support tool". If its a followup email asking for progress update, forward to your line manager.
The above will take weeks/months; you need to be patient and most importantly depends on support from management.
If management has said "just deal with it (it won't take long)" - do what you're told. Skip to the Time Tracking section below.
There will often be occasions (certainly initially) where you have to drop what you're doing an react, maybe for political or financial reasons. That's fine. Just follow the process yourself. Create a new ticket and fill it in, assigned to yourself. If you need more info, email, including the ticket number:
"Hey Mary, I've opened a support ticket 12345 for X which you asked me about, but I need you to send some screenshots. Please can you attach them to the ticket or email them to me and I'll do it."
It's probably worth saving these to reuse as templates.
Finally - most importantly - keep a really detailed track of the time you spend working on things and especially
- The time spent resolving the problem
- The time spent filling in the ticket / reading emails / gathering info
- Estimate the time you lost for what you were originally working on (at least 15/30 mins
If the issue tracker doesn't do this, keep it in a spreadsheet (make sure you have backups). You can use this to send your line manager a weekly summary. If you're spending 60% of your work time on allocated tasks 20% on support work and 20% on admin, they will really want to fix this.